How to Legally Change Your Name in North Carolina

By Bryan Driscoll, J.D.

How to Legally Change Your Name in North Carolina

By Bryan Driscoll, J.D.

Most states allow a change of name during major life events, such as, marriage, divorce, and adoption. Most states allow you to make the name change by filling out simple paperwork. Unfortunately, North Carolina is not that simple.

Woman typing at computerIn North Carolina, you must file a petition in court regardless of the reason for name change, i.e. marriage. This process can be time consuming and cumbersome. Therefore, you may want to consider using the services of an experienced attorney.

Gather Documents

The first step in beginning the process of changing your name is to gather your documents. You must prove you are who you say you are and that you are a resident of North Carolina.

To prove this, you need state issued identification. You can use a driver's license, state identification card, or voter registration card. You'll also need a utility bill, or something similar, confirming your current address.

Provide Proof of Good Character

You must prove you're a person of good character. Why? Because North Carolina doesn't want people changing their names to run away from outstanding debt, pending crimes, or other unscrupulous actions.

To prove your good character, you need to provide notarized affidavits to your county clerk. North Carolina does not provide general guidelines for what the affidavits need to contain. To understand what you need in your affidavit of good character, contact your county court clerk.

Provide Notice

Now provide notice. This is required so that others have time to object your new choice of name. For example, someone else might believe that you are simply changing your name to match theirs. Moreover, a creditor might object out of concern that you're trying to avoid paying a debt.

Regardless of the reason why someone might object, North Carolina law notes that you must provide notice. You can do this by posting your notice on the door of the superior court in your county.

File Your Name Change Petition

After ten days have passed since you posted your name change notice, you can file your name change petition. If a minor is seeking a name change, the petition must be completed and signed by an adult.

The name change petition must contain the following information:

  • Current name
  • Desired new name
  • Date of birth
  • County of birth
  • Full names of both parents
  • Reason for name change
  • Information regarding previous name changes, if applicable

That last bullet is important to note. North Carolina is hesitant to provide a resident with more than one name change. As a result, there is additional scrutiny on your request if you have previously requested a name change. Once you've filed your name change petition, the court will conduct a review of the request along with a background check. If the court approves your petition, you will receive a certificate indicating that your name has been legally changed.At this point, you are free to use your new name. You can change your bank account information, identification documents, and your bills. You will need to provide a copy of your name change certificate to any institution that requests it so you can prove your name has legally been changed.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.